Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There Are Other Churches Besides Two Rivers Baptist

I read (yet) another report claiming mis-deeds from Dr. Jerry Sutton, Senior Pastor at Two Rivers Baptist Church. There are members who are claiming all sorts of financial irregularities and have gone to court to gain access to financial records. According to the report, "(Dr.) Sutton sent a letter to members saying those who've sued the church will be thrown out if they don't shape up."

My advice to those who disagree with how things are being run at Two Rivers: it is time to find another church home. It is obvious that there is a disagreement. It is obvious that the pastor does not intend to budge from his position. It is obvious that the seventy (or so) members who want to oust the pastor are a small minority. There is nothing that a court suit, a group, or additional head-butting in the media will do to bring any glory to this situation. If there is wrongdoing, God will deal with the sin involved.

Full disclosure: I left Two Rivers Baptist Church a month or so after Dr. Sutton appeared on the scene and summarily dismissed some of the finest women ministers in the Southern Baptist Convention. It was my choice to leave. I spoke personally with Jerry and expressed my disappointment in his decisions. We agreed to disagree. I chose to find another church home. I am still at peace with that decision and view it as a door that lead me to new areas of service that I might not have discovered had I stayed.

Wonderful things have happened to Two Rivers under Dr. Sutton's leadership and although we may disagree on many things, God has blessed Jerry's ministry and Two Rivers Baptist Church. I wish Dr. Sutton the best. I wish those who disagree with Dr. Sutton the best as well.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is one of the more reasonable posts I've seen on this subject.
As a lay leader at TRBC, I am one of many that have been praying for reconcilliation for many months now.
We've (leaders of TRBC) exhausted our resources in trying to accomodate concerns and question. But to no avail. The congregation spoke loudly last fall when 1,101 member voted to keep Dr. Sutton as our pastor. It is time for those wishes to be respected.

Anonymous said...

I would like for the previous poster to comment on the May 11 fiasco where the vote of May 4 was overturned on a show of hands vote.

They were quick to talk about the "congregation spoke loudly last fall when 1,101 member voted to keep Dr. Sutton as our pastor.."

What about the 334 votes to keep the plaintiffs in the body on May 4 which were then overturned by Jerry Sutton and David Mills on May 11? Should this count???

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reasonable words regarding this situation. I have attended TRBC for over 25 years; I have not always agreed with the Pastor but he has always been open to discuss our differences. Our church as been severely wounded by those acting in rebellion against God's Word and His Shepard. There is no telling the toll this situation has taken on Jerry's health and family. I will be sorry to see him go but in the end this may be the best for all. I'm thankful he has chosen to put the church over himself in this situation. I am also sorry some will see this a vindication or victory for the plaintiffs..that couldn't be farther from the truth. No one wins here except the enemy but God is on His Throne and He will not be mocked.

Saddened Christian said...

Great post! I agree whole-heartedly! The way this has been dragged into the media for the whole world to see is a detriment to Christianity and the name of Christ. Each and every comment in the media (and those crazy message boards!)adds another stumbling block to the huge wall that has been built for lost souls who might have come to know Christ. This is not what Christ is about and should have been resolved internally and left to God. What has happened to our faith in God to handle situations on our behalf and bring justice?

I am so discouraged to see how this process has caused so much damage in the community by people like that Peggy Lewis woman who has been quoted anywhere that would give her a voice - making a mockery of Christianity by dragging it into the public eye.

Is it wrong to have questions and ask them of church leadership? Absolutely not. But is it wrong to handle it externally in the way this has been done? Absolutely. The topic is actually addressed by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians.

Your way of handling your disagreement with Jerry Sutton is a testament to your faith and a wonderful example of how Christians SHOULD handle things. Your post is a great encouragement.